Rimbey has been put on the map after a video surfaced earlier this week, of a Rimbey locum physician claiming he succesfully treated some of his patients with the widely-disputed drug, ivermectin.
Alberta Health Services said on Thursday that they are aware of comments making claims about the use of ivermectin in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. They say Dr. Daniel Nagase’s comments have caused a great deal of confusion and concern, and have hurt staff, physicians and the community.
“It is extremely disappointing that someone would spread misinformation about COVID-19 treatment in this way, and suggest that AHS is withholding treatment for patients.”
Nagase was seen outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Oct. 1 telling a crowd about how he used ivermectin, a medication used to treat parasite infestations, on three patients – going against official Alberta health policies.
According to Nagase, he was working in the emergency room in September when he offered the drug to three COVID-infected patients, who he said was relying on oxygen and steroids.
The doctor attempted to find ivermectin at a number of pharmacies who denied his request, he said.
He was able to find one pharmacist who was able to aquire the drug from an agricultural supplier.
He also put the patients on inhalers, a number of vitamins, and Hydroxychloroquine treatment – a medication used to prevent and treat malaria – which is also widely disputed by health officials for being able to help battle COVID-19.
Shortly after, Nagase said he was contacted by AHS and told it is forbidden to give ivermectin to patients.
The following day, Nagase was given notice that he was being relieved of his medical duties and being replaced.
AHS says that ivermectin is approved for use in humans for some treatments, primarily the treatment of parasitic worms, but not COVID-19.
Further, the use of the agricultural grade – or veterinary version – of ivermectin can pose potentially serious health problems if consumed by humans. The veterinary version can cause allergic or toxic reactions in humans, as has been documented in a number of U.S. States. ivermectin toxicity can include rash, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, abdominal pain, tremors, seizures, coma and severe hepatitis requiring hospitalization.
They say that any claims that ivermectin in either form is a life-saving medication against COVID-19 are not verified and that it has not been deemed safe or effective for this use.
Nagase has since been terminated from his position within AHS.
A further review of the incident is underway by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta and the Alberta Pharmacy College for medical and pharmaceutical staff are aware of the incident and the concerns surrounding it and are reviewing the issue.